A recent review of our center experience revealed that only 38% of our pediatric renal transplants come from living-related donors (LRD), which is 11% lower than the national average. The present study was designed to identify factors that limit the availability of LRD in our population pool. Retrospective chart reviews and subsequent telephone interviews were conducted with parents of all children who received renal replacement therapy (RRT) at our institution from 1990 to 1999. The availability of parents and their willingness to donate a kidney were noted. Self-reported willingness was defined as the verbal expression of a desire to donate. Firm willingness was defined as the completion of the steps necessary for donation, unless excluded by the medical team. Factors that may impact the ability to donate, such as donor age, ethnicity, religion, educational attainment, employment, and presence of other siblings younger than 18 yr of age, were evaluated. Statistical analyses were performed using the Student's t-test and chi-square analysis. Significant results were entered into a single-step multiple regression analysis. Sixty children were identified with RRT, of whom 60% were Blacks, 30% Hispanics, 7% Caucasians, and 3% Asian. Fifty-five mothers were available for interview. Forty-four mothers reported a desire to donate, nine were unwilling to donate, and two were undecided. However, only 35 attended for screening. Only 30 fathers were available and, of these, 27 reported willingness to donate, yet only 20 attended for screening. Seventy-four per cent (26 out of 35) of mothers screened and 55% (11 out of 20) of fathers screened were medically unsuitable for kidney donation. Nineteen potential donors had hypertension, diabetes and/or obesity, seven had renal disease, four had anemia, two had hepatitis C, and five had other conditions. Expressed unwillingness to donate was associated with a greater number of children (3.1 compared to 1.5 children in addition to the child with end-stage renal disease [ESRD]) (odds ratio 2.91, p < 0.05) and employment (26.3% vs. 4.0%, p < 0.05) (odds ratio 31.2, p = 0.05). Comparing mothers who were firmly willing to donate with mothers who did not complete screening and evaluation, unwilling mothers had, likewise, a greater number of children (2.9 vs. 1.2 in addition to the child with ESRD) (odds ratio 3.23, p < 0.01) and a greater number of years of education (12.4 vs. 10.4) (odds ratio 2.14, p < 0.05). Hence, the availability of living kidney donors for our inner city children is severely limited by a high rate of single parenthood and a high rate of comorbid conditions in the parental donor pool. Furthermore, there is a diminished capacity of the available parent, particularly the mother, to donate as she tends to have numerous other dependents.